Plenty of Pink Floyd fans have found themselves singing along with “Comfortably Numb” at the end of another dispiriting, soul-draining day, but very few have had the privilege of doing so alongside the actual David Gilmour on the stage of the Royal Albert Hall in London. This is just one of the perks that comes with being Benedict Cumberbatch, the supernaturally charming Sherlock star whose Doctor Strange premieres on November 4. Gilmour is currently in the middle of playing a string of concerts at the Albert Hall, and he recruited Cumberbatch to sing Roger Waters’ verses from the depressing but seminal track from the 1979 double concept album The Wall during Wednesday night’s show. A clip of the performance was posted to Gilmour’s YouTube account.
The series of five concerts is ostensibly in support of Gilmour’s 2015 solo album Rattle The Lock, but no such show would be complete without a rendition of “Comfortably Numb,” seeing as how that song contains some of Gilmour’s most famous guitar work ever. And since it’s highly unlikely that Waters himself would agree to do a walk-on at this point, Cumberbatch made a suitable, audience-pleasing substitute.
So how does the voice of Smaug do with this classic rock number? After all, Cumberbatch has dabbled in music before, but is not widely thought of as a singer. Does he have the chops for this? In his write-up of the event, Rolling Stone’s Elias Leight reports that the actor “sang conversationally. He accentuated a few lines with theatrical expressions. In between verses, he stood modestly as lasers and Gilmour’s guitar pyrotechnics flashed around him.” It helps that the verses of “Comfortably Numb” are not particularly range-y, seeing as how the singer is supposed to be tranquilized into oblivion. Cumberbatch approaches “Comfortably Numb” more as an actor than as a singer, so he’s comfortably away from Golden Throats territory here. Still, he seems a little relieved when it’s time for Gilmour to take over again.
[via Rolling Stone]